Jayapura, Jubi – On what should have been West Papuan Independence day a collective of Maori and Pacific women will raise the West Papuan Morning Star flag in Otara, South Auckland.
Oceania Interrupted is an Auckland based collective of Māori and Pacific women who use visual and performance art to raise awareness for the situation of the people of West Papua. The collective is calling on all supporters of a Free West Papua to stand in solidarity and watch the performance where they raise the Morning Star flag on Tuesday 1st December 2015, 5:30pm at Otamariki Park, Otara.
Te Rito Peyroux a Rotuman/Cook Island member of Oceania Interrupted said “It is important for us to remember our West Papuan brothers and sisters, and raise the Morning Star flag because, we can. Too many have suffered because they have been stripped of the liberties that we often take for granted”.
Oceania Interrupted uses visual and performance art to interrupt public spaces and to transpose the importance of West Papua’s struggle of independence to local social contexts. The collective aims to illuminate the connections of all Pacific peoples.
Oceania Interrupted’s first 8 performances referenced the imprisonment of Filep Karma, a political prisoner. Filep was released from prison on November the 19th after serving his full sentence (minus standard remissions) for participating in the raising of West Papua’s “Morning Star” flag on December 1, 2004.
Filep’s release is a reminder that arbitrary arrest and security force brutality and killings are a daily fact for West Papuans. Those who remain in prison for exercising their freedom of speech continue to be subject to the same cruel and abusive treatment that Filep has experienced.
Leilani Salesa a Samoan member of Oceania Interrupted said “Our freedom as indigenous Māori and Pacific women in Aotearoa New Zealand is inextricably bound up with that of our indigenous West Papuan brothers and sisters. Whilst we come together to raise the flag to show our solidarity, we know that West Papuans who raise the Morning Star flag will face brutality, harsh penalties, abuse e and torture.”
Oceania Interrupted is currently engaged in producing a series of 15 actions to raise awareness for and demonstrate solidarity with the people of West Papua. Action 9 Circle of Solidarity – Free West Papua will be performed on December the 1st at 5:30pm at Otamariki Park, on the corner of East Tamaki and Baird’s road’s in Otara, South Auckland. Parking is available on Cobham crescent. The performance will take place rain, hail or shine. (*)